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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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exploited as tools of the Bolsheviks/' ran the ultimatum, " will be made
to bear the consequences without ftuther scruples."
There was no answer to this ultimatum. The Germans., in the mean-
time, continued to burn the houses and shoot hundreds of people in their
advance, and succeeded in piercing a road through the defences to one
of the bridges. About 100,000 people were evicted from the districts as
the Germans gained ground and they were herded into a converted con-
centration camp at Pruszkow, some ten miles west of the capital and left
under desperate conditions to starve. It was not until September 7,
after frequent appeals and demands from " fighting and bleeding Warsaw/'
that the International Red Cross managed to supply the Pruszkow camp
with food.
On August 8, three Polish crews from Italy were permitted to drop the
first containers of supplies on the Polish capital. On the night of the I3th3
the first planes to be dispatched from air-bases in that same country
appeared in the skies over Warsaw. Four days later Allied Headquarters,
Italy, announced that more than one hundred aircraft had been sent out
to dtop supplies and ammunition. " The Polish, British and South
African crews of Liberators and Halifaxes employed in this task have
had to make a round trip of 1,750 miles through areas strongly defended
by German fighters . . . Twenty-one bombers are missing." Washington
approached the Kremlin with a proposal to develop a shuttle-service for
their planes carrying supplies for Warsaw (London, it seemed, did not
ask), but the Soviet Government would not agree, although for several
months Allied aircraft from Italy had been using airfields on Russian
territory to bomb targets in South-Eastern Europe, Poland and East
Prussia. In spite of their refusal to allow Allied aircraft carrying supplies
for Warsaw to use their airfields, several of the planes, damaged in their
mission, had to make a forced landing behind the Soviet lines.* Fifteen
per cent, of British supplies fell into the hands of the Home Army—the
amount was insignificant to the need and was more symbolic than any-
thing else. From August 15, only Poles from a bomber squadron in
Italy were permitted to bring help to Warsaw. And they continued to
do so until the last crew perished . . .
The great distance and the € high losses * were put forward as the
reasons for the cessation of the British attempts to drop supplies, although
* The Swedish radio gave the information that those crews had apparently
been interned by the Russians (?). There was^ howevera no confirmation of
this news as there had been in the case of the internment by the Soviets of the
American airmen whorf after having bombed Japan, landed on Russian territory.
It was not the bombers' first flight to Poland from Britain and Italy. The first
American planes to undertake bombing operations in that area had landed in
Soviet-occupied territory on June 2> and up to August 8, the U.S.A.A.F., Eastern
Command, mentioned twenty operations in which its bases in Russia had been
used.
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